Death Toll Rises to 246 in Philippine Flood

The death toll in Philippine flood has soared to 246, with hundreds of thousands of flood survivors being crammed into schools, gymnasiums, churches and other makeshift shelters, said media reports.

Officials said that they were unable to handle the enormous number of flood victims who were continually pouring into the evacuation centres, three days after a once-in-a-generation storm pounded Manila and surrounding regions

“More people are coming in by the hour… We don’t know how long we will be able to sustain this,” Joe Ferrer, a local government official in charge of a shelter on a basketball court on the outskirts of the Manila area, was quoted as saying by AFP.

“We need clothing, food supplies, food rations and medicine.”

According to reports, at the basketball court, there were already 3000 people from the the depressed San Andres neighbourhood and they were hungry and tired. There was single toilet for them.

The government said that 320,000 survivors of the devastating rains unleashed by tropical storm Ketsana on Saturday were sheltering in hundreds of centres, while nearly 250,000 others were receiving some form of aid elsewhere.

President Gloria Arroyo described the floods as a “once-in-a-lifetime” event, and in an extraordinary move opened the Malacanang presidential palace to flood survivors.

After word of the offer spread, hundreds of people converged on the palace and received plastic bags filled with noodles and canned sardines.

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